The California Employers Association (CEA) has published the following information concerning Covid Vaccinations and whether they should be mandatory or not. I have reprinted the article as they published it for your reading.
Many employers are wondering whether they may require their employees to be vaccinated from COVID-19. The short answer is yes.
Generally, employers may require employees to be vaccinated, so long as the vaccination is job-related, consistent with business necessity, and the employer makes reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religious beliefs. But, perhaps the better question is should you require it? Business Necessity Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employer may require a vaccination or medical exam when it is "job-related and consistent with business necessity." As such, whether an employer may require a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to turn on questions such as: (1) Does the employee work in a high-risk setting (such as in a hospital or health care facility)? (2) Does the employee often interact with the public (such as a cashier at a grocery store)? (3) How effective is the vaccine? Reasonable Accommodation Even if employers can require employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine, they should expect a flock of requests for exceptions or "reasonable accommodation." Practical Considerations Employers should also consider employee morale, fears, and concerns. Some employees may be fearful about vaccination side effects. Others may be open to taking the vaccine but may want to wait until it has been available for a while.
Consult Legal Counsel
When it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, the circumstances are novel and there is no precedent on this issue. That said, we recommend you consult legal counsel if you choose to send someone home without pay or terminate an employee who refuses to take the vaccine, or if you deny a request for a religious or medical/disability accommodation.
Your HR Directors are here to help you navigate through the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 in the workplace. As we continue to receive guidance from government agencies on COVID-19 vaccinations, we will share that new information with you.